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  • Writer's pictureLaura Schaefer

What is the average cost of a ghostwriter?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

An experienced ghostwriter offering a specialized level of service charges clients or publishers a flat fee in the mid six figures. Top ghosts such as J.R. Moehringer earn seven figures, $1,000,000. It is possible to hire a good writer for less; my fee is $120,000.


Is it legal to use a ghostwriter?


Yes. Ghostwriting is extremely common, particularly in the world of non-fiction books. Ghostwriting services are the same as having any other service delegated to an expert. In other words, hiring a ghostwriter is in most ways similar to hiring any other professional service. However, most ghostwriters would never write anything academic designed to measure knowledge.


Are ghostwriters worth it?


Yes. They make the difficult process of writing a book easier and more fun.


Who hires a ghostwriter?


Many different types of professionals hire ghostwriters. I’ve worked with philanthropists, VCs, wealth advisors, real estate investors, executive coaches, entrepreneurs and the recently retired. Everyone has a story to tell and lessons to teach.


Can a ghostwriter steal your story?


A reputable ghostwriter will not steal your story. They would not even think of doing so. If you feel worried, simply put language in your agreement with them about this concern.


Do ghostwriters get royalties?


Most ghostwriters are hired on a fee-for-service basis, meaning they do NOT get royalties. However, some ghostwriters do negotiate a small royalty if they are hired directly by a publisher. I only write on a work-for-hire basis, meaning I do not get royalties. My author clients retain all copyrights and eventual profits from their books.


How long does it take a ghostwriter to write a book?


It varies a lot depending on your vision for your book, but most ghostwriters say it takes at least six months to a year to write a book. My service is designed to complete a book in six months.


Is hiring a ghost writer legit?


Absolutely. A ghostwriter will make your book stronger than it would have been without help. Most top performers and leaders now work with ghostwriters to hone their messages.


How do I find and hire a ghost writer?


Start by asking your network for a referral. If no one has a name for you, use Google and LinkedIn to find 5-10 ghostwriters’ websites and see which 2-3 spark a feeling of excitement or trust. Talk to each of these writers to find out if you’d be a good fit for working together for up to six months. Take your time hiring a person with whom you feel comfortable.


Who is the most famous ghostwriter?


In 2023, that designation probably goes to J.R. Moehringer, who worked with Prince Harry on his memoir Spare. Author Kathleen McGurl is also having a moment in the sun today as Millie Bobby Brown’s collaborator on Nineteen Steps.


With a more historical lens, the ghostwriter of Lee Iacocca’s book, William Novak (father of BJ!), stands out as a prolific ghost who was the go-to writer in the 1980s and 1990s for top leaders. Donald Trump’s ghostwriter Tony Schwartz has become quite well-known for writing The Art of the Deal and for since denouncing it.


Do publishers hire ghostwriters?


Yes. All the time. We are an important part of the publishing industry. If you read non-fiction, you’ve read ghostwritten work.


Should I use a ghostwriter for my book?


If you want a high-quality finished manuscript, it is a good idea to work with a ghostwriter. It can be difficult to know where to start without an expert partner. Further, it can be tough to keep writing and to finish. For this reason, it is wise to hire a ghostwriter. A ghostwriter will help create a book outline and finish each chapter of the book with you in a set timeframe. You’ll have a book you can be proud of in just six months.


Is it worth the cost to work with a ghost writer?


There is a reason many high-level individuals hire ghostwriters. They save time and make the process of writing a book fun. A skilled and experienced ghostwriter brings talent and empathy to the table. They are on your side and have the same goal you do: to create a high-quality high impact book.


How common are ghost writers?


So common that now there are ghostwriters who specialize in niches like LinkedIn posts. More than 50% of the nonfiction books published recently were written by ghostwriters and some industry people in the publishing world say it’s even more than that.


The funny thing is that a person who hires a ghostwriter is probably already a good writer themselves. They just choose to work with a collaborator because two brains are better than one and because it is more fun to write a book with another person than it is to write one alone.


What is a life lessons book?


This is a subset of the memoir genre in which an author seeks to teach the reader what they’ve learned about a specific topic. This type of book might be shorter than a typical memoir and generally has a very strong framework, targeted topic, or a number in the title.


Examples of this type of book include The Four Agreements, The Miracle Morning, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Tuesdays with Morrie, Who Moved My Cheese? and Big Magic.


Where can I learn more about ghostwriting?




Laura Schaefer Ghostwriter
Premium Life Lessons Ghostwriter Laura Schaefer



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